Quotations From the Book “Principles” By Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio is an American billionaire and the founder of one of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater. In the recent years, he devoted his time to write book about principles that he believes are the reason behind his success. That’s how the book “Principles” came out.

At the beginning of the book, he said:”Every day, each of us is faced with a blizzard of situations we must respond to. Without principles we would be forced to react to all the things life throws at us individually, as if we were experiencing each of them for the first time. If instead we classify these situations into types and have good principles for dealing with them, we will make better decisions more quickly and have better lives as a result. Having a good set of principles is like having a good collection of recipes for success….”.

Of course, we all have our own principles through our own life experience and reflections. But if we are wise enough to embrace the fact that successful people are not successful by accident. They are successful because they know something we don’t. They have done something we cannot.  Also, they are successful because they have their own unique principles that set them different from us. So think through all the principles those successful people pass on to us is a short-cut to achieve more in our own life.

The book “Principles” is over 600 pages long. It takes a lot of time to read through. Following are some quotations from the book I think are very well said.


  1. Embrace reality and deal with it.
  2. Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life……I learned a great fear of being wrong that shifted my mind-set from thinking “I’m right” to asking myself “how do I know I’m right”. And I saw clearly that the best way to answer this question is by finding other independent thinkers who are on the same mission as me and who see things differently from me. By engaging them in thoughtful disagreement, I’d be able to understand their reasoning and have them stress-test mine. that way, we can all raise our probability of being right.
  3. Despite passing ups this great opportunity, I don’t regret my choice. I learned that if you work hard and creatively, you can have just about anything you want, but not not everything you want. Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.
  4. Encounters like these have taught me that human greatness and terribleness are not correlated with wealth or other conventional measures of success. 
  5. I had always wanted to have — and to be around people who also wanted to have — a life full of meaningful work and meaningful relationships, and to me a meaningful relationship is one that’s open and honest in a way that lets people be straight with each other. I never valued more traditional, antiseptic relationships where people put on a facade of politeness and don’t say what they really think.
  6. One has many more supposed friends when one is up than when one is down, because more people like to be with winners and shun losers. True friends are the opposite.
  7. These shaper have a lot on common. They are all independent thinkers who don’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving their audacious goals. They have very strong mental maps of how things should be done, and at the same time a willingness to test those mental maps in the world of reality and change the ways they do things to make them work better. They are extremely resilient, because their need to achieve what they envision is stronger than the pain they experience as they struggle to achieve it. Perhaps most interesting, they have a wider range of vision than most people, either because they have that vision themselves or because they know how to get it from others who can see what they can’t. All are able to see both big pictures and granular details And levels in between and synthesize the perspectives they gain at those different levels, whereas most people see just one or the other. They are simultaneously creative, systematic, and practical. They are assertive and open-minded at the same time. Above all, they are passionate about what they are doing, intolerant of people who work for them who aren’t excellent at what they do, and want to have a big, beneficial impact on the world.
  8. While I surpassed my widest dreams decades ago, I am still struggling today. In time, I realized that the satisfaction of success doesn’t come from achieving your goals, but from struggling well. To understand what I mean, imaging your greatest goal, whatever it is — making a ton of money, winning an Academy Award, running a great organization, being great at a sport. Now imagine instantaneously achieving it. You’d be happy at first, but not for long. You would soon find yourself needing something else to struggle for. Just look at people who attain their dreams early — the child star, the lottery winner, the professional athlete who peaks early. The typically don’t end up happy unless they get excited about something else bigger and better to struggle for. Since life brings both ups and downs, struggling well doesn’t just make your ups better; it makes your downs less bad. I’m still struggling and I will until I die, because even if I try to avoid the struggles, they will find me.
  9. I can say that being strong is better than being weak, and that struggling gives one strength. 
  10. Understanding, accepting, and working with reality is both practical and beautiful. I have become so much of a hyperrealist that I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of all realities, even harsh ones, and have come to despise impractical idealism…..Don’t get me wrong: I believe in making dreams happen. To me, there’s nothing better in life than doing that. The pursuit of dreams is what gives life its flavour. My point is that people who create great things aren’t idle dreamers: They are totally grounded in reality. Being hyperrealistic will help you choose your dreams wisely and then achieve them.
  11. Radical pen-mindedness and radical transparency are invaluable for rapid learning and effective change. Learning is the product of a continuous real-time feedback loop in which we make decisions see their outcomes, and improve our understanding of reality as a result. Being radically open-minded enhances the efficiency of those feedback loops, because it makes what you are doing , and why, so clear to yourself and others that there can’t be any misunderstandings. The more open-ended you are, the less likely you are to decide ourself – and the more likely it is that others will give you honest feedback.
  12. Don’t let fears of what others think of you stand in your way. You must be willing to do things in the unique ways you think are best — and to open-mindedly reflect on the feedback that comes inevitably as a result of being that way.
  13. It is a fundamental law of nature that in order to gain strength one has to push one’s limits, which is painful. As Carl Jung put it, “Man needs difficulties. They are necessary for health.”
  14. The challenges you face will test and strengthen you. If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, you’re not maximizing your potential. Though this process of pushing your limits, of sometimes failing and sometimes breaking through — and deriving benefits from both our failures and your successes  — is not for everyone, if it is for you, it can be so thrilling that it becomes addictive. Life will inevitably bring you such moments, and it’ll be up to you to decide whether you want to go back for more. If you choose to push through this often painful process of personal evolution, you will naturally “ascend” to higher and higher levels. As you climb above the blizzard of things that surrounds you, you will realize that they seem bigger than they really are when you are seeing them up close; that most things in life are just “another one of those.” the higher you ascend, the more effective you become at working with reality to shape outcomes toward your goals. What once seemed impossible complex become simple.
  15. Identifying, accepting, and learning how to deal with your weaknesses, Preferring that the people around you be honest with you rather than keep their negative thoughts about you to themselves, and being yourself rather than having to pretend to be strong where you are weak.
  16. Successful people are those who can go above themselves to see things objectively and manage those things to shape change.
  17. Watching people struggle and having others watch you struggle can elicit all kinds of ego-driven emotions such as sympathy, pit, embarrassment, anger or defensiveness. You need to get over all that and stop seeing struggling as something negative. Most of life’s greatest opportunities come out of moments of struggle; it’s up to you to make the most of these tests of creativity and character.
  18. The two biggest barriers to good decision making are your ego and your blind spots. Together, they make it difficult for you to objectively see what is true about you and your circumstances and to make the best possible decisions by getting the most out of others. If you can understand how the machine that is the human brain works, you can understand why these barriers exist and how to adjust your behaviour tome yourself happier, more effective, and better at interacting with others.
  19. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and everyone has an important role to play in life. Nature made everything and everyone for a purpose, The courage that’s needed the most isn’t the kind that drives you prevail over others, but the kind that allows you to be true to your truest self, no matter what other people want you to be
  20. Everything looks bigger up close. In all aspects of life, what’s happening today seems like a much bigger deal than it will appear in retrospect. That’s why it helps to step back to gain perspective and sometimes defer a decision until some time passes.
  21. Get rid of irrelevant details so that the essential things and the relationship between them stand out. As the saying goes, “Any damn fool can make it complex. It takes a genius to make it simple.” 


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